Portuguese Mathematical Society

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The Portuguese Mathematical Society (SPM) is a Portuguese institution, founded on December 12, 1940, whose objectives are the development of education and the dissemination and promotion of mathematical research in Portugal. SPM is responsible for the edition of scientific journal Portugaliæ Mathematica, Boletim SPM, Gazeta de Matemática and several books. Its activities include the organization of congresses, conferences, scientific meetings and training courses for teachers. SPM organizes the Portuguese Mathematical Olympiad and it also promotes the television show "This is mathematics", broadcast on SIC Notícias and SIC International. It brings together teachers and math researchers interested in the progress of the discipline in the country.


The 1930s and 1940s have been special decades for Mathematics in Portugal. A generation of brilliant mathematicians such as Bento de Jesus Caraça, Ruy Luís Gomes, Alfredo Pereira Gomes, António Aniceto Monteiro and Hugo Ribeiro, among others, gave a new life to mathematics research in the country. They have successfully promoted several projects, including the scientific journal Portugaliæ Mathematica (1937), the Mathematical Seminar in Lisbon (1938), the Center of Mathematical Studies Applied to Economics (1938), the magazine Gazeta de Matemática (1939) and the Mathematical Studies Center in Lisbon and Oporto (1940 and 1942, respectively). It was in this context that on 12 December 1940, the Portuguese Mathematical Society (SPM) was founded.

The first board of directors was constituted by Pedro José da Cunha (President), Victor Hugo Duarte Lemos (Vice President), António Aniceto Monteiro (General Secretary), Manuel Zaluar Nunes (Treasurer), Maria Pilar Baptista Ribeiro and Augusto Sá da Costa (1st and 2nd Secretaries). Ruy Luís Gomes and Bento de Jesus Caraga were also key pieces in the development of the Society, which has gathered a considerable number of members from the beginning.

But since its creation the Society has faced many difficulties due to the political events occurred during the 20th century in Portugal. The dictatorial regime didn't allow the registration of SPM, which was legalized only after the revolution of 1974, in October 10 of 1977 - almost 40 years after its foundation.

During the regime mathematicians and scientists in general have been persecuted, and in 1945 António Aniceto Monteiro was forced to leave the country. In 1946 and 1947 the government has unleashed an offensive against the Universities, preventing Bento de Jesus Caraça, Ruy Luís Gomes, Zaluar Nunes, Hugo Ribeiro, Alfredo Pereira Gomes, among others, from pursuing their careers. The Mathematics centers were virtually extinct and the Mathematics Clubs, created by SPM, were declared illegal and banned.

The Portuguese Mathematical Society was prevented from holding its normal meetings because gatherings of many people displeased the political authorities. Moreover, it was forbidden to elect another committee. Pressured by PIDE- the political police - many founding members of SPM departed into exile and the Society activity declined. Although some magazines have remained - such as Portugaliæ Mathematica, thanks to Zaluar Nunes efforts, and Gazeta de Matemática, thanks to Gaspar Teixeira - Mathematics in Portugal entered a numbness period.

Despite these almost impossible circumstances the Portuguese Mathematical Society did manage to avoid total extinction, although it could not function in any meaningful way.

Only after the revolution of April 25, 1974, SPM was able to fully work and achieve the objectives set by its founders: to promote mathematical knowledge and the quality of mathematics teaching and to disseminate the Portuguese mathematical research.

Portugaliae Mathematica had been published since 1939 and continued to be published through the years when the Society could not function. However, with the Society flourishing again, it took over control of the journal. The Society took on its role of organising meetings and conferences and began to organize Olympiad competitions in 1980. In 1989, Portugal participated in the International Mathematics Olympiad competition for the first time.

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